Meteora's ancient monasteries

Few countries are as adept as Greece is at creating buildings that enrich, rather than detract from, the natural landscape. That skill reaches its zenith among the fabulous monasteries of Meteora, a series of holy fortresses perched atop seemingly inaccessible sandstone pinnacles. Inhabited for over 1,000 years, the buildings are an act of imagination the equal of any fantasist, an inspirational testament to faith, and a historic lynchpin of Hellenic culture. Steep staircases hewn from the rock lead up, and up, to each monastery, a breathless task, but one that is amply rewarded by exploration of the meditative interiors of the buildings, and of the widescreen views out to the town of Kalambaka, Penios River, and the Pindos Mountains beyond.

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